Background and issues
Proper functioning of the European food system is key to deliver food and nutrition security for all Europeans. However, this system faces many economic, environmental and social challenges as well as opportunities resulting from socio-economic and technological developments that are unevenly distributed throughout the EU.
Future policymaking aimed at healthy, resilient systems needs to take into account this differentiation and this range of approaches, which call of foresight activities that take integrate both the development of important driving forces and social and spatial diversity.
Primary production — in other words agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture — forms the foundation of the food system. Its structure and performance is influenced by various conditions shaped by both the public and the private sector. As economic agents, primary producers aim to generate a sufficient income, but their financial conditions are highly dependent on public and private actors, such as suppliers, processors, wholesale and retail businesses, the financial sector, and government regulators (including the EU’s agricultural and fisheries policies).
In other words, the web of policy requirements as well as input and output market imperfections play a key role in shaping farmers’ and fishermen’s livelihoods.
SUFISA aims to identify practices and policies that support the sustainability of primary producers in a context of complex policy requirements, market imperfections and globalisation. Knowledge of market conditions and other driving forces exists, but is fragmented : the producer groups and regions concerned have not yet been analysed or the framework conditions and driving forces have changed in the mean time. Moreover, little information is available on cross-linkages between various drivers and future opportunities and threats will need to be integrated for comprehensive analysis through the development of scenarios concerning the transformation of European food systems by 2025.
The work of the SUFISA project will be based on close cooperation with industry stakeholders, policy makers and representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations. The combination of theoretical approaches and multi-actor involvement will be the precondition for identifying practices and policies aimed at addressing market failures that prevent farmers and fishermen froom operating sustainably.